At Qualcomm, corporate social responsibility (CSR) is about more than simply funding projects or causes. Through Qualcomm Wireless Reach, we invest not only dollars, but a great deal of time and expertise in projects that demonstrate innovative uses of Qualcomm technology for social good and help drive human and economic progress in underserved areas. I had the opportunity to share our approach during my participation in a panel discussion at the recent APEC Women Leadership Forum in Beijing, China.
Using mobile technology to empower people is at the core of Qualcomm’s business. We believe that access to mobile technologies can improve lives. We demonstrate that belief through Wireless Reach, which was formalized in 2006 to bring wireless technologies to underserved communities globally.
Wireless Reach invests in projects that use Qualcomm’s 3G, 4G and other advanced mobile technologies to foster entrepreneurship, aid in public safety, enhance the delivery of health care, enrich teaching and learning, and improve environmental sustainability. We choose projects that we believe can be sustained and replicated to achieve large-scale social and economic change.
Our investment is long-term, and our engagement is purposeful. In addition to funding, we’re intimately involved in project strategy. We often provide technical support, project management and impact evaluation expertise. And, we help get these projects off the ground and work to ensure their success by bringing together mobile developers, wireless network operators, mobile device manufacturers, NGOs and government stakeholders to develop and implement long-term solutions that are customized to the local communities’ needs.
Through my work with Wireless Reach, I have seen firsthand the positive impact that access to mobile technology can have on individuals, families, communities and the world. Our programs are helping to alleviate poverty and fight chronic disease. And, by connecting people in communities large and small via mobile devices, we’re creating new platforms that can be used by many organizations that are trying to solve social and economic problems.
One area includes increasing mobile access for women. According to the report Women and Mobile: A Global Opportunity, a woman in the developing world is 21 percent less likely to own a mobile phone than her male counterpart. Yet, women tend to benefit most from mobile services. Wireless Reach invests in mWomen initiatives because we believe that they are valuable to women as well as Qualcomm, the telecom industry and the wireless ecosystem.
For example, in Malaysia, we’ve been working with the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women on the Mentoring Women in Business program since 2012. This project utilizes 3G technology to connect business professionals around the world as mentors with Malaysian women entrepreneurs as mentees.
This program was developed to enhance women’s skills and knowledge in the areas of business and technology in order to help them grow and maintain their own successful businesses, improve their self-confidence, maximize their entrepreneurial potential, improve their socio-economic status and empower them to become self-reliant. Early results from this program indicate that the mentoring relationships are having a positive impact on entrepreneur businesses.
Since Qualcomm was founded more than 27 years ago, our inventions have driven the evolution of mobile, enabling high-speed data networks and devices that are redefining computing. Wireless Reach is one of the key ways that we use our cutting edge technologies to improve social and economic development on a global level. I am thrilled with our progress so far and am looking forward to continuing to reach even more people through our programs.